Eighteen years ago, Karen Saltus took a giant step and became a freelance voiceover artist full time.
Saltus knew it was a risky move to let go of the steady paychecks she received as a DJ at a Boston radio station. But she was sick of the 40-hour-a-week confinements of office walls — and working with “big egos”.
And last year, she took another giant step, becoming a voiceover-to-go in an old RV rigged with a high-tech soundbooth, reports the Florida Times-Union.
She said farewell to house walls—at least for now.
Call her a voiceover-to-go.
With the quality of mobile broadband increasing, she was able to take her job on the road in October.
In her mid-50s, she’s now exploring the country in an old RV rigged with a high-tech soundbooth, kept company only by her cats Nora and Patsy. For the past several weeks, she has been staying at a campground near St. Augustine.
“I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, ‘Oh my God, you’re living my dream,'” she told Florida Times-Union.
But finding an alternative to cubicle walls isn’t impossible, she said. “If you’re willing to get creative, sometimes you can figure something out.”
From campgrounds and RV parks all over the country, she’s managed to record everything her clients have needed, she said.
Her work typically includes recording radio and TV commercials, and narrating non-fiction audiobooks (check out “Liespotting” by Pamela Meyer and “The Best of Friends: Martha [Stewart] and Me” by Mariana Pasternak.)
As well, the next time you make a phone call and hear, “For customer service, press 3,” it could be Saltus’ voice. She knows everyone hates that, she said, laughing. Those phone system messages drive her crazy, too.
Her voiceover colleagues have been both envious and baffled by her decision to work from an RV. After all, ambient sounds can be recording’s worst enemy. Her soundbooth blocks a lot of noise, but doesn’t completely wipe out the sounds of airplanes, motorcycles, and semi-trucks.
And because she’s staying in campgrounds, there are also chirping birds, barking dogs, and occasionally drunken neighbors hanging out right next to the RV. There have definitely been challenges. But they’re worth it, she said.
She said her career doing voiceovers and narration was working out well, but she began to re-examine her surroundings after a tough divorce. She was working from her house in Arizona, a state she said never suited her New England ways. So she let it all go.
She said her latest mission in life is “releasing balloons,” or “letting go of being uptight.” In a way, she’s reinventing herself, she said.
Her Arizona house is still for sale, she said. She has no intention of ever settling there again. Instead, she’s touring the country to find a place that’s just right for her to adopt.
So far, she’s crossed from Arizona to North Carolina, spent time in Charleston and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and is now in North Florida. She said it’s way too hot here, though, so soon she’ll probably be off to Rhode Island or Ohio.
When I was a kid on the farm after the milking came the process of skimming the cream. The cream which rose to the top of the heavy crock in which the milk was stored, was reserved for the treats of our frugal lifestyle: rich yellow butter, whipped cream for our desserts, and that rarer treat, tasty homemade ice cream.
As I’m sitting in the comfort of my motorhome, the comparison of “skimming the cream” to extracting the best from life comes to mind.
To us, RVing offers the cream of life; it is the “treat” that adds zest and flavor to living.